The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh recently visited the United Kingdom. During the visit, Dr. Singh is also supposed to have discussed many measures with his counterpart, Mr. Tony Blair to tackle terrorism and is said to have briefed the latter about the recently obtained ‘evidence’ on the involvement of Pakistan in the horrific blasts on the Mumbai subway system on July 11, 2006.

Indeed, the Mumbai police in a well-orchestrated media blitz announced several arrests and evidence for such involvement towards the end of September. However, the BBC reported on October 10 that seven men have retracted their confessions and informed a court “…that their admission of guilt was obtained by police bullying and coercion” (note that all the accused are young Muslim men).

In addition to the usual affairs of state, Dr. Manmohan Singh attended a ceremony to accept the Doctorate of Law awarded to him by Cambridge University. In his acceptance speech in October 2006, among other things Dr. Singh noted that “The best efforts to eradicate poverty will be in vain if our societies and nations are threatened by the specter of terrorism and extremism. Open societies like India and Britain are more vulnerable to this threat. The very openness of our societies makes us more vulnerable. Yet, we must fight terrorism without losing the openness or the rule of law that guarantees the freedom of the individual.”

It is no coincidence that this statement is from one of the darlings of neo-liberalism, globalization and privatization. Events on the ground prove that these policies have led to nothing but vast immiseration for the largest section of the population of India and the accumulation of vast riches in the hands of the largest industrial conglomerates, poverty, hunger, desperation and suicide for the peasantry. Therefore for Dr. Singh to say that his non-existent efforts to ‘eradicate poverty’ resulting in failure is due to terrorism and extremism is nothing but sham and an effort to divert attention from the manifest failure of the policies that he spearheads. It may also be noted that events such as the blasts in Mumbai have done nothing to weaken either India or the economic system; the stock markets continue to enjoy euphoric growth, there is no loss in investor confidence and there are no signals from any international policy watchers that suggest that India is on the brink of any kind of collapse.

It may be concluded that those that are behind the Mumbai blasts are not in any way trying to wage war against India in any well-defined sense. The victims of this event, as in all similar events, are simply common folk going about their daily business, and the general population in its wake experiences great insecurity and fear. There have been renewed calls for greater ‘beefing up of security’ and for laws to tackle ‘terrorism’, rather than calls to bring the actual culprits of this and other events to justice.

It must also be noted here that there has been a strong publicity campaign in general to malign all men and women of Islam as though all of them bear the cross of responsibility for an unsolved dastardly crime. It must also be noted here that in the Mumbai blasts as in any other incident of this
sort, there are victims of all faiths. Furthermore, close on the heels of this event came the equally dastardly blasts in Malegaon targeting worshippers in a Mosque. In this latter event as well, all the victims are simple common people who are not party to any political campaign for or against any of the policies of the Government of state. These events, therefore, beg the question as to why they take place and who benefits from them. It also begs the question as to who the program of disinformation in these events benefits and how it is an effective tool of the ruling circles that are behind the policies of the Indian Government.

It may be recalled in the recent past, just before the Mumbai blasts, an increasing vicious worldwide campaign was taking place in ‘traditional Muslim lands’ for the lack of a better world, with the assault launched in the Gaza strip by Israel, by the activities of the coalition forces in Afghanistan and in Iraq. It is probably no surprise the Israel-Lebanon war started exactly a day after July 11. The availability of a worldwide disinformation campaign maligning Muslims makes the job of invading other sovereign countries so much easier. Furthermore, vast sections of the Indian population has expressed its complete disgust at the embracing of the US by the UPA Government, through the Indo-US strategic alliance, for the complete spinelessness of the Government in its inability to denounce Israel, in its inability to stop the bullying of Iran by the US, in the atrocious conduct of the NATO troops in Afghanistan, of the mass slaughter of literally a couple of percent of Iraq’s population in the war for which the responsibility lies entirely at the doorstep of the USA. Recall here the words of the Syrian Foreign Minister in the days preceding the Iraq invasion, when he warned that the invasion would be nothing short of opening of the gates to hell.

The people of the country and especially those of Mumbai are acutely conscious of the role and complicity of the Indian state and its organs in the deepening of insecurity of their daily lives through job losses, factory closures, sale of mill lands, setting up of Special Economic Zones, provider of sops to IT companies and oil interests. It may therefore be concluded that no matter who was responsible for the Mumbai blasts, the beneficiary is the Indian state as it emerges as the ultimate guarantor of security and finds room to extricate itself out of its permanent crisis of legitimacy. Therefore, for the state to be able to reassert itself primal position as a guarantor of security, the Mumbai blasts have come as a vital lifeline. More importantly, having regained this primal position, the state will busily arm itself with more draconian laws and arbitrary powers of detention and arrest to prevent the actions of those who are opposed to the policies that the present Government champions.

In this regard it may be worth providing the description of the essence of the work of the well-known theorist of the state, the sixteenth century philosopher, Niccolo Machiavelli, from Wikipedia, the on-line encyclopedia,

"Machiavelli’s best known work is The Prince, in which he describes the arts by which a Prince can retain control of his realm. He focuses primarily on what he calls the principe nuovo or "new prince," under the assumption that a hereditary prince has an easier task since the people are accustomed to him. All a hereditary prince need do is carefully maintain the institutions that the people are used to; a new prince has a much more difficult task since he must stabilize his newfound power and build a structure that will endure. This task requires the Prince to be publicly above reproach but privately may require him to do things of an evil nature in order to achieve the greater good.

A careless reading of The Prince could easily lead one to believe that its central argument is "the ends justify the means,"- which is a teleological philosophical view ("telos" is greek for ends) – that any evil action can be justified if it is done for a good purpose. This is a limited interpretation, however, because Machiavelli placed a number of restrictions on evil actions. First, he specified that the only acceptable end was the stabilization and health of the state; individual power for its own sake is not an acceptable end and does not justify evil actions. Second, Machiavelli does not dispense entirely with morality nor advocate wholesale selfishness or degeneracy. Instead he clearly lays out his definition of, for example, the criteria for acceptable cruel actions (it must be swift, effective, and short-lived).”

While it is tempting to end with this quote, all those who are interested in ending the present crisis in India are encouraged to think about why matters are at this pass. Irrespective of one’s ideological disposition, one should ask on what path the activities of those who are behind the blasts, the activities of the Indian state, Government, media, etc. is taking the people of the country. Irrespective of who is behind the blasts, it can be easily concluded that the effect of these blasts is to bolster the Indian state and its various agencies and to enable them to regain the position of guarantor of security, while it must be kept in mind that the Indian state is that of the big business houses and large agricultural interests. By regaining the position of guarantor the state will further advance the aims of these sections, indeed at the expense of the toilers and workers and the general population of the country. The road to the liberation of these sections is an arduous one with several false turns and several obstructions. All the patriotic forces must come out and discuss with honesty and great fervour what the direction of this must be in face of the obstructions in their path.

by B Ananthanarayanan

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